Communication between the parties to a conflict is often extremely difficult. Introducing a third, impartial, party helps stimulate and maintain discussion. The mediator will first ensure in the talks that the positions of each party are clearly set out for the respective counterparties. In the second stage, however, it is the interest underlying the position that comes to the fore in negotiations. This phase is usually critical to the success of the process. As soon as the parties to the conflict mutually recognise the reason why their opponents are holding a certain position, purposeful negotiations and an amicable solution are usually possible.
Professionally trained mediators do not themselves make decisions for resolving the conflict: their role is to organise the process and steer the dialogue between the parties so that they can reach a decision by themselves and thus find a solution that is acceptable to all.
Mediation is a simple process for achieving an out-of-court settlement to conflicts that offers several advantages:
- fast, flexible, sure and permanent conflict resolution is possible (agreement is usually reached within six months);
- mediation is typically much less expensive than court proceedings;
- in most cases an amicable solution offers the possibility of future “co-operation”.